GOING OUT WITH GOMBROWICZ: Performative reading of excerpts from Witold Gombrowicz’s “Diary,” “Trans-Atlantyk,” and “Kronos” at The Performing Garage
The first installment of performative readings of selected texts by Witold Gombrowicz, Diary, Trans-Atlantyk and Kronos, will take place, presented for the first time at The Performing Garage – an independent Off-Off-Broadway theatre located in Lower Manhattan, New York, and a home to the legendary theatre company, The Wooster Group.
The readings will be accompanied by experimental video prepared by Zbigniew Bzymek, the director of this performance, and a performer with extensive experience, a video artist associated with The Wooster Group, as well as an independent filmmaker (director, editor and cinematographer) whose work has show at Sundance, Locarno and Berlinale, among other festivals. The readings will be accompanied by a specially developed movement and stage interpretation performed by Kuba Falk, a visual artist and a performer working mainly in natural environments. The entire event will be recorded as an audio and video material to be used during subsequent installments of this project planned for 2023 and 2024.
The leading theme of the project will focus on personal, artistic and political freedom and sovereignty. Particular attention will be paid to the way in which Gombrowicz referred to the concept of individualism in view of the Communist corruption and its importance in the current ‘culture of self-care’, as well as to connections between those individualistic and holistic themes, in order to reflect over our new times, referred to as ‘cosmo-individualism’ by Bzymek.
Performers: Danusia Trevino, Jim Fletcher, Viva Ruiz, Shana Fletcher, Andrew Maillet, Kuba Falk, Christopher-Rashee Stevenson and Zbigniew Bzymek
Directing and staging: Zbigniew Bzymek and Kuba Falk
Producer: Wiola Łabędź
Associate Producer: Bartek Remisko
Sound: Andrew Maillet
Video: Zbigniew Bzymek
Technical Support: David Glista, Technical Director, The Wooster Group
Organizer: Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw
Special Thanks to Rita Gombrowicz, Cynthia Hedstrom, Monika Wunderer and Mike Ferry and The Performing Garage
ZBIGNIEW BZYMEK is a filmmaker, theatre artist, animator and educator. After graduating from The Polish National Film School directing department, his diploma film Suddenly Forever won the grand prix du jury at the prestigious Rencontres Internationale Henri Langlois festival in Poitiers in 2008. As a theatre artist, Bzymek has created video projections for seven of Krystian Lupa’s productions and for 14 years was a filmmaker and performer with The Wooster Group in New York. Films shot, directed by Bzymek have screened at Berlinale, New Horizons, Belfort, Sundance, Locarno, and BAM cinefest. He was written up in the New York edition of La Génération “Do It Yourself” in Cahiers du Cinéma, and has been the recipient or co-recipient of numerous fellowships in the United States, such as the Gregory Millard Fellowship in Film from The New York Foundation for The Arts and The MAP Fund. In 2020, he directed “Concert of Question Marks”, a “socio-musical” survey with demographic questions and musical performances by Andy Maillet and Mary Komasa on the main stage of STUDIO teatrgaleria in Warsaw. He was the Art Director of VFX on Brodka’s “Game Change,” which won Best Art Direction at the Berlin Music Video Awards 2021.
KUBA FALK (1984) studied in Krakow, Poland at the Intermedia Department of the Academy of Fine Arts; Stage Directing and Stage Acting at the Academy of Theatre Arts and Comparative Religion Studies at the Jagiellonian University. He creates body-based works built out of personal rituals and spiritual practice with strong presence of themes of healing through facing shadows and inconvenient truths of self delusion. His poetry, video and sound works are often incorporated into his performances creating complex actions.
Learn more about Witold Gombrowicz from Encounters with Polish Literature: Witold Gombrowicz with Bożena Shallcross.
WITOLD GOMBROWICZ (1904-69) was born to a family of the Polish gentry, and after writing his play, Princess Ivona of Burgundia (1935) and publishing his major novel, Ferdydurke (1937), he was invited as a writer to report on the maiden voyage of the cruise ship, Chrobry in 1939. While aboard, the Germans invaded Poland, marking the outbreak of the Second World War. He disembarked in Argentina, unable to return to Poland during the war and after the transition to Communism. He worked in a bank, associating with writers in Buenos Aires and continuing to write novels and plays in Polish as well as his Diary in which he engaged in a struggle for self-definition in the face of conservative ideas of Polish nationalism among his fellow émigrés. In 1963 he returned to Europe on a Ford Foundation grant, first to Berlin, and then to France where he was embraced by Paris intellectuals, writing his last novel, Cosmos (1965), and play, Operetta (1966). This episode of “Encounters” focuses on the novels, Ferdydurkeand Trans-Atlantyk (1953 and 1957), and we examine his conflict with what he saw as ossified forms of cultural life among the Polish gentry, and his attempts to maintain his identity as a Polish exile in Buenos Aires and as a gay man in a closeted era.